CAROL AND COMPANY ARE FEWER BY ONE
Television history may have repeated itself: On the set of NBC’s Carol & Company, star Carol Burnett was spotted by our source in the middle of “a shouting match” with executive producer Matt Williams. The source says Burnett, 57, and Williams were embroiled in a “less versus more” argument: Burnett wanted “more of Carol Burnett” in the characters that are written for her on the show, and Williams wanted less. Carol won; Williams is leaving the show next month.
Sound familiar? Williams, the creator of Roseanne, left that series after fighting with star Roseanne Barr over a similar issue.
Williams landed on his feet that time, signing a reported $10 million deal with Disney. Carol was his first Disney project; he has others pending.
Burnett confirmed Williams’s imminent departure, adding, “Matt was originally retained for 13 shows. He stayed on for an additional season, more than filling his commitment. He leaves with my blessings.”
UNCHARTED SEA OF LOVE
If you thought you noticed a few scenes during the Feb. 5 network television premiere of Sea of Love that weren’t in the original 1989 Al Pacino-Ellen Barkin thriller, you thought correctly.
Director Harold Becker says he got to edit in an extra 11 minutes worth of subplot involving Pacino’s ex-wife, played by Lorraine Bracco, when “[CBS] agreed to air the movie at 2½ hours” instead of its original running time of 1:53. Becker says that, had the network tried to squeeze the movie into a two-hour time slot, with commercials, he would have had to cut 17 minutes.
Becker says the subplot, which was chopped out of the original movie, “added dimension to Al’s character. I thought it belonged in the film all along, but [Universal] insisted on a running time under two hours.”
THE MOVIE BEHIND THE MOVIE
When Orion Pictures obtained the rights to author Thomas Harris’s 1988 thriller, The Silence of the Lambs, the studio didn’t quite envision it as the film that opened in 1,415 theaters last week.
Originally, the studio wanted actor Gene Hackman, 61, both to make his directorial debut and to star in Lambs as the incarcerated serial killer Dr. Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter. When Hackman dropped out—he wanted to distance himself from the public’s perception that he always plays violent characters—the project was handed over to director Jonathan Demme, 46.
Demme’s first choice to play the lead role of FBI trainee Clarice Starling, the part in which Jodie Foster stars, was Michelle Pfeiffer, 32, whom he had directed in Married to the Mob. Only when Pfeiffer turned down the role did an offer go out to Foster, 28. Demme has since been quoted as saying he had to convince Orion to accept British actor Anthony Hopkins, 53, as Lecter. The studio was pushing for Robert Duvall, 60, for the part.
Michael Douglas has played a lot of roles during his career, but never a headwaiter. That he does only in real life. Or at least that’s what he did when he cohosted and helped serve food and wine at a recent dinner for 35 people at the Los Angeles home of producer Shep Gordon.
The occasion was to introduce Roger Verge, head chef at Moulin du Mougins, a three-star restaurant in Mougins, France. Guests included Danny DeVito and wife Rhea Perlman, Jack Nicholson and his companion, Rebecca Broussard, and Sylvester Stallone and his steady, Jennifer Flavin.
Verge’s ingredient list for his 12-course meal included 14 pounds of butter and eight quarts of heavy cream. Sources who were there tell us the feast both satiated stars and left them speculating about the state of their cholesterol counts.